It will work to preserve Tamil heritage and culture

A Centre for Tamil Culture was launched here on Tuesday with Nalla G. Palaniswami, chairman, Kovai Medical Centre and Hospital, donating Rs. 5 crore towards its corpus.

Actor R. Sivakumar launched the centre in the presence of R. Nallakannu, leader of the Communist Party of India, N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, P.K. Ponnuswamy, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras and Madurai Kamaraj University, K.R. Nagarajan, chairman, Ramaraj Cotton, N. Subramaniam, chairman, Habasit Iakoka (P) Ltd., M. Velayutham, chairman, Vijaya Publications, Thavamani D. Palaniswami, secretary, Dr. N.G.P. Arts and Science College, K. Chellappan, former Head of the Department of English, Bharathidasan University, Malan, Editor, Puthiya Thalaimurai, and Sirpi Balasubramaniam, litterateur.

At the function, Mr. Ram also released ‘Sirpi – 75: A life of poetry’, a book containing literary criticisms of Mr. Sirpi’s works.

Mr. Palaniswami said the centre was the result of his desire to do something for Tamil, Tamil culture and Tamil society. The centre would work to preserve Tamil heritage and culture and remain a hub for those engaged in such activities.

Mr. Balasubramaniam said the new organisation was aimed at protecting Tamil identities, honouring litterateurs, carrying out research works and much more.

“In the coming days, you [people] shall know what the centre will do.”

The centre on Tuesday presented ‘Muthanmai Viruthu’ to K. Meenakshi Sundaranar, a Tamil scholar and former Director, Collegiate Education, and Ki. Raja Narayanan, a Tamil novelist, and gave away citations and a purse of Rs. 1 lakh each.

On the occasion, Mr. Nallakannu said it was appreciable that the centre chose to award two great scholars on the day it was launched. He congratulated Mr. Balasubramaniam for the release of a book of literary criticisms on his works.

Coimbatore, after Indian independence, had seen industrialisation, the growth of the labour and progressive movements.

With the launch of the Centre for Tamil Culture, it could well claim to have the distinction of having the ‘Fifth Tamil Sangam’.

Coimbatore had always enjoyed a unique place in the Tamil literary world, he said and added that the city had also stood first in the sales of Tamil literary magazines, weeklies and journals.

The veteran Communist leader said that Mr. Balasubramaniam’s poetry was a tool for social change and the latest book based on his works was an effort aimed at taking the rich Tamil culture to the English-speaking world.

Mr. Ram, after reading a few passages from the book, said it showed how and why Mr. Balasubramaniam took to poetry, what influenced him, what was his social outlook, his background, what ideologies influenced him and much more.

Appreciating the editor of the book Mr. Ponnuswamy, he said that translation was a difficult job because it was impossible or near impossible to capture the spirit and beauty of the original work. “Poetry was lost in translation. More so, when the poet was very imaginative, complex, subtle and much more.”

To the best of his knowledge, there was no good translation of Tamil poet Bharathi’s works, Mr. Ram said and pointed out that English translation of Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s works had not been very successful.

Mr. Velayutham said that the centre should not stop with giving away awards. It should engage itself in serious Tamil research.

Mr. Malan suggested that the centre take up research on Diaspora literature. Mr. Sivakumar said that Sirpi was one of the Kongu region’s identities.